CocoRosie
(Copyright © 2004 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

La Maison de Mon Reve (2004) , 6/10
Noah's Ark (2005), 6.5/10
The Adventures of Ghosthorse and Stillborn (2007), 7/10
Grey Ocean (2010), 5/10
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CocoRosie is the Paris-based duo of vocalist-guitarist-flutist Sierra Casady and percussionist Bianca Casady. La Maison de Mon Reve (Touch & Go, 2004) delivers spare and occasionally childish folk ballads that turns them into the Indigo Girls of folktronica (Jesus Love Me).

Noah's Ark (Touch & Go, 2005) is a more professional affair and many of the songs (K-Hole , Brazilian Sun) sound more "mainstream", despite the effort to disrupt their arrangements with found sounds and other effects. By harking back to old-fashioned pop (and blues and folk) while at the same time toying with contemporary styles (whether hip-hop or trip-hop), Cocorosie offer an eclectic ride through the past, the present and the future of popular music. The stand-out is Beautiful Boyz, featuring guest Antony (of And The Johnsons).

Metallic Falcons are Cocorosie's frontman Sierra Casady and Matteah Baim. Desert Doughnuts (Voodoo-EROS, 2006) is a monotonous collection of psychedelic desert songs.

CocoRosie's The Adventures of Ghosthorse and Stillborn (Touch & Go, 2007) sounds like the ultimate exercise in crafting pop songs out of almost literally nothing. The minimal accompaniment of the catchy childish pseudo-rap rigmarole of Rainbowarriors (with an angelic refrain worthy of Enya) or of Black Poppies, that, de facto, blends the style of renaissance hymns, Chinese opera and (literally) baby blabbering, sets the standard. However, the melody can be more sophisticated than the (hyper-spartan) premises would imply, as in Sunshine, that would fit well in Burt Bacharach's catalog. A tender sense of sadness and loneliness emanates from the six-minute stream of consciousness of Animals, that alternates between two vocal alter egos of Casady (over swampy syncopated beats derived from found noises such as bicycle bells).
The other characteristic of CocoRosie's art is the ability to employ multiple "voices" to augment Casady's shrill register. The vaguely Hawaian nursery rhyme of Bloody Twins is sung by a choir of children and set to the amateurish thumping of what sounds like a toy piano (with a surreal intermezzo of sorrowful operatic soprano). The sorrowful operatic soprano returns for Houses, this time in a high-brow lied with classical piano.
It all ends in the desolate whisper and warped echo of Miracle, quite a contrast to the humble euphoria of Japan.
The medium is the message. This music, so fragile and improbable, might be diagnosing an ongoing mutation in the collective psyche and in the zeitgeist of the 2000s.

Grey Ocean (SubPop, 2010) was painstakingly arranged to chisel even the simplest of instrumental and vocal event into a memorable moment. However, its charm lies rather with the desolate wasteland that is often evoked by the combination of voice, instruments and rhythm. The anemic chamber lied for synth and harp Trinity's Crying Smokey Taboo constructs such an atmosphere by combining a slow Indian beat with a girlish nursery rhyme, the two bridged by languid electronic lines that a shrill operatic contralto eventually joins. The good news end there, though. The playful accents that surface in many songs (whether the ancient pianola of Hopscotch or the musichall rhythm of The Moon Asked The Crow) are not cast adequately. Bjork-ian piano-based meditations such as Undertaker and Grey Oceans have a really hard time coalescing into anything more than indulgence. The girlish singing gets tedious after a while. The surreal techno jam of Fairy Paradise would be great fun if its energy wasn't clipped almost immediately after it picks up steam. There is, more disappointingly, no emotion in these songs. Too much of this album comes through as a frigid collage of unrelated eccentric moves.

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(Copyright © 2004 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
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